Enhancing Chile’s existing Denomination of Origin system, Wines of Chile – along with the Chilean Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) – has created additional descriptive terms of quality, to further clarify its diverse and productive winemaking landscape.
The new terms in use do not replace the previous denominations, but are complementary, and express additional descriptive information about geographic characteristics such as elevation, soil and atmospheric tendencies, which vary across the country from east to west, from the Andes Mountains to the Central Valley to the Pacific coast.
At the 10th Annual Wines of Chile Awards, we are pleased to offer you a chance to experience the distinct terroirs of the Andes, Costa and Entre Cordilleras zones – designations that should help continue our advance towards becoming the leading New World producer of premium wines.
The Andes Mountains – the world’s longest mountain range – veritably define Chile’s unparalleled geography and create a natural eastern border that ambles from the dry northern desert to the lush southern wilderness of Patagonia. Sedimentary soil and fresh mountain air are carried from unspoiled high altitude to the fertile valley floor, providing ventilation, temperature control and sun regulation – conditions that nourish vineyards planted at the feet of this impressive geological marvel.
The easterly Andes zone includes the Elqui Valley and the Choapa Valley, and portions of the Maipo Valley, the Cachapoal Valley, the Curicó Valley, and the Maule Valley.
The cool breeze from the Pacific Ocean collides with invigorating Andes mountain drafts to create a delicious cool-climate environment in the Costa area, where Chile’s white wine varieties – and certain hearty reds – can thrive. The maritime influence produces a rich natural environment for coastal vintners, with hospitable soils and a slow-ripening morning fog that allows grapes to mature at a slow and graceful pace.
The westerly Costa zone includes the Casablanca Valley and the San Antonio Valley, and portions of the Limarí, Colchagua and Itata valleys.
Chile’s vibrant viticulture has been historically concentrated in the Central Valley – a long strip of earth framed by the Andes to the east and the Pacific to the west. The cooling, comfortable influence of each geographic feature coincides “entre cordilleras” – “between ranges” – to produce a calm Mediterranean climate, that fosters deep, animated red wines, like those born of the famed dry-farmed, old-vines of Cauquenes and San Javier.
The central Entre Cordilleras zone includes the Aconcaqua Valley, the Bio Bio Valley, and the Malleco Valley, and portions of the Limarí Valley, the Maipo Valley, the Cachapoal Valley, the Colchagua Valley, the Curicó Valley, the Maule Valley, and the Itata Valley.
By creating these complementary additions to the original Denominations of Origin, Wines of Chile is proudly communicating the geographical sensations that set Chile’s vitiviniculture apart from other wine-producing regions of the world.